2020 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Sporty Cars

The sporty car segment is divided between sedan-based coupes like the Dodge Challenger, and purpose-built sports cars such as Mazda MX-5. Sales in this segment are cyclical and driven by novelty. New designs sell well for a few years after introduction, with sales tapering off in subsequent years.

   

Chevrolet Camaro  Fiat 124  Mazda MX-5  Toyota 86  
Dodge Challenger  Ford Mustang  Nissan 370Z  Subaru BRZ 

2020  Chevrolet Camaro

 

NOT RATED

 

 

 

What's new
A 10-speed automatic transmission is now offered with the 3.6L-V6.
Comments
The Camaro is built on the same premium architecture that underpinned the now defunct Cadillac ATS. Three main engines, a 2L turbo four, a 3.6L V6 and a 6.2L V8 are offered. In addition, a superharged 6.2L V8 with an astounding 640 horsepower, is a custom order possibility.
The Camaro sends its power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or automatics with eight (2L), or ten speeds (V6 and V8). Exterior styling is very similar to the previous-generation car and explores themes seen first on the 1969 Camaro.
The Camaro's interior can't be mistaken for any other car. The centre of the dashboard houses a very large multi-use touch screen, the heater fan speed and temperature are controlled by big rings surrounding the middle dash vents. The parking brake is actuated electrically. Cabin materials are modestly attractive. What the Camaro's cabin lacks however, is space, which is tight in the front and even more so in the back. 
The 3.6L V6 in the Camaro LT coupe driven by the APA delivered fierce acceleration that was accompanied by a guttural, yet pleasing rumble when accelerating hard. The Camaro's automatic transmission ably funnels the power of the V6 to the rear wheels. Given the speed-gathering skills of the V6, upgrading to the V8 seems pointless. The 2L turbo four is quick but overall a disappointment in this car as it sounds gruff and is reluctant to rev. The six-speed manual transmission hooked up to the 2L has a docile clutch but the gearchange was clunky. Direct, nicely weighted steering and good braking ability and pedal feel. Limited outward visibility.

Pricing
Multiple trims are available despite the limited market impact of the Camaro. The only apparent differences between the base 1LS and the 1LT is a power passenger seat. Chevrolet should just make the 1LT the base model. The 2LT does include leather seating but the 3LT, with a a variety of comfort and convenience items plus rear cross traffic, blind spot, forward collision and lane departure warnings, is priced to reflect its addition content. The 1LE Track Performance package on the 2LT trim is priced at $5191. The 3.6L-V6 is a $1760 option on the 1LT, 2LT and 3LT trims. Moving up from the 1SS to the 2SS trim is good value. Upgrading from the 2L turbo four to the 6.2 L-V8 costs $14,400 (1LT to 1SS) to $16,900 (2LT to 2SS). The supercharged ZL1 costs a massive $21,300 more than the 2SS, putting it in a different segment than mainstream Camaros. Alfresco fans will pay a $7000 supplement to move from a Camaro coupe to a convertible of the same trim level. Good value leasing for the Camaro in 2020. 
Reliability
Not rated as too few have been sold to establish reliability. Numerous complaints regarding defective timing chains on the 3.6L V6. A GM extended warranty recommended if you plan to keep a V6 car longer than the powertrain warranty. 

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-4 T (275 HP), 3.6L-V6 (335 HP.)*, 6.2L-V6 (455 HP), 6.2L-V8 S (640 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 8A 2L-4T, 10A (V6, V8, V8 S) 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 12.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.1L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision, lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: A

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Dodge Challenger

 


What’s new
Fiftieth anniversary (of the Challenger nameplate) editions of several trims for 2020. An all-wheel drive version of the GT trim is a new addition to the lineup for 2020.  

Performance
On the road, the Challenger is a re-interpretation of Muscle Cars of the past. Vivid acceleration with the 5.7L V8, incredible thrust from the 6.4L V8 on the Scat Pack version and mind-bending verve with the Hellcat models. The manual transmission has a smooth, docile clutch and a precise gearchange. The 3.6L “Pentastar” V6 provides lively performance. The eight-speed automatic transmission works well with any of the available engines. Predictable handling is allied to a very comfortable ride for a sporty car. The Challenger’s great weight leads to some body roll in tight corners. The brakes stop well but lack staying power. The cabin is very "school of Chrysler" and features Chrysler's excellent infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard. Comfortable front seats and adequate rear seat space for a car of this type. Logical controls are purloined from Chrysler's universal parts bin. The roomy trunk has a high sill. 

Comments
The Challenger is a retro-flavoured traditional “Pony Car” based on the platform that underpinned the previous-generation Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. The long-hood, short deck proportions and Coke-bottle shape recall the 1970-1974 Charger (and related Plymouth Barracuda), but with sleek, modern surfacing. The Challenger is bigger than the Mustang and Camaro in key dimensions. Power units include a 3.6L V6, a 5.7L V8, a normally-aspirated 6.4L (Scat Pack) and a supercharged 6.2L (Hellcat). Power reaches the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, or, on V8 models, a six-speed manual. The SXT and GT trims are offered with all-wheel drive.

Pricing
The base SXT trim is very nicely equipped. The SXT Plus package adds a number of comfort and convenience features as well as Nappa leather, heated front seats and heated steering wheel for a bargain price. The $995 Driver convenience package is needed to obtain blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, but also includes xenon lights. The $995 Technology package is required to add adaptive cruise control and a forward collision warning. The GT trim does have leather and Alcantara seating but looks expensive for the money asked. All-wheel drive costs an extra $3200 on the GT and $3400 on the SXT trim. Moving up from the GT V6 to the V8-powered R/T includes the engine and little else for its $3495 supplement. Similarly equipped, the 6.4L Scat Pack, with 110 more horsepower, costs $11,705 more than an R/T powered by a 5.7L V8. The Wide Body package, available on the Scat Pack, SRT and Hellcat models, adds fender blisters that permit the use of wider wheels and tires for these high-performance models, is priced at $8000. The SRT and Hellcat models are very expensive but that does not deter buyers in the least. Challenger resale value is better than any other FCA product. The Challenger is a very good lease deal for 2020. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. The powertrain warranty on the high-performance models is only three years/60,000 km. 

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (305 HP)*, 5.7L-V8 (6M: 372 HP, 8A: 375 HP), 6.4L-V8 (485 HP), 6.2L-V8 S (707 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 8A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  12.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.7L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and adaptive cruise control

Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 (3/60,000 only on SRT8, Scat Pack and Hellcat)
Current Generation Debut:  2009
Country of Origin:  Canada

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: A

Sm. Front Pass: NR

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Ford Mustang

 


What’s new
The High Performance Package, with aero, suspension and braking upgrades, is now offered with the 2.3L turbo four. An optional handling package for the High Performance Package offers MagneRide dampers, special tires and a limited slip differential. The GT500, powered by a 760 horsepower, 5.2L supercharged GT500 that sends power to the wheels via  seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission, is new for 2020.

Comments
The cabin features a twin cockpit design with the driver's side dominated by large format gauges for speed and revs. The dash centre stack contains a large touch screen that can be bypassed in favour of more conventional audio and climate controls. Interior materials are unimpressive and disappointing at this price point. Ford's European designed vehicles have elegant, carefully finished cabins, but its U.S. designed vehicles like the F-150 and Mustang are distinctly underwhelming in terms of design and materials.  
Engine choices include a 2.3L turbo four with either 310 or 330 horsepower, a 460 horsepower 5L V8 and a 760 horsepower supercharged 5.2L V8 that powers the GT500. Not offering a smaller engine with about 250 horsepower is a lost opportunity. The Mustang is equipped with an independent rear suspension, which does enhance performance and ride but does little for packaging, as rear seat leg and head room are very tight for what is a large car.  

Pricing
The Premium package, offered with both engines, results in a very well-equipped car at a tempting price. A V8-powered GT Premium coupe is priced nearly $9000 higher than a 2.3 turbo Premium coupe. Picking a Premium trim version of the convertible instead of a coupe will cost from about $4200 (turbo) to about $4700 (V8).
Compared with the V8 GT Premium coupe, the Bullitt trim is extravagantly overpriced. Good value Safe and Smart package includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and emergency brake assist, at a good ($1500) price. The Mustang is a reasonable lease deal for 2020. 

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. All engines are unproven.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP, 2CV
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2.3L-4 T (310 HP, 330 HP), 5L-V8 (460 HP)*, 5.2L-V8 S (760 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 7 dual clutch, 10A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  15L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.1L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, autonomous emergengy braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control
Additional airbags: Knee airbags for both front occupants

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2015
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Mazda MX-5*, Fiat 124

 


 

What’s new
Mazda MX-5: The base GX trim has been eliminated, leaving the GS, GS-P and GT trims for 2020. Minor trim and equipment shuffles, including the availability of Nappa leather on some trims. The iOS-Android cellphone interface is standard across the lineup for 2020. Sirius-XM Travel Link and Traffic Plus connected services are new features on the GT model. Fiat 124: A Scorpion Sting stripe and hood decal package is a new option on the 124 Spider Abarth model.
Comments
Power from the 2L inline four found under the hood of various Mazdas finds its way to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The MX-5 is a delight to drive. Its 2L inline four enjoys being wrung out and makes a joyful noise when extended. Unlike super high-performance cars, the MX-5 can be driven very enthusiastically without exceeding normal speed limits and without anyone taking any notice of how much fun the driver is having. Crisp handling, sufficiently compliant ride, strong brakes with good pedal feel and a precise gearchange allied to a docile clutch round out the dynamic prowess of the MX-5. MX-5 denizens are treated to comfortable seats and enough room for even larger people to be comfortable. Surprisingly deep trunk. The operation of the electrically-driven targa top on the RF model is a wonder to behold. 
Fiat 124: Fiat’s 1.4L turbo four needs to be revved to generate meaningful speed but sounds great as it moves through its rev range. Just like the MX-5, the steering is perfectly weighted, quick and faithfully telegraphs road surfaces back to the driver. Handling is impressive and the ride is firm but not punishing. Driven with the top down on a cold autumn day, the 124's powerful heater and toasty seat heaters kept the driver warm.

Pricing
MX-5: The automatic and manual transmission versions of the MX-5 are priced the same. With air-conditioning, alloy wheels, the iOS-Android cellphone interface, Keyless Go, as well as blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, the base GS convertible is very well equipped. The manual-transmission version of the GS-P adds heated seats, a strut tower brace, a sport suspension system with Bilstein shocks, a limited slip differential, a name brand audio, and an accoustic windshield, but looks expensive. The Sport option on the GS-P with manual transmission delivers Brembo brakes and Recaro seats clad in Nappa leather and Alcantara, but is more expensive than warranted. The range-topping GT upgrade features leather uphostery, a lined convertible top, navigation, adaptive headlamps and a variety of comfort and convenience equipment, but is overpriced. More trim variety is available for 2020. Buyers can swap their black soft top for grey or brown for $400 and GT intenders can move past the standard black or tan leather seating and opt for red Nappa leather for $400 extra. The RF (retractable targa roof), available in GS-P and GT trims, costs $3000 more than the soft-top MX-5. The GT Exclusive package adds Nappa leather seating and a contrasting colour hard top for a reasonable price. The GT Grand Sport option group adds Brembo brakes to the GT Exclusive group but lacks anything of value for its $2400 price bump. The MX-5 is an exceptional lease deal for 2020. Fiat 124: The base Classica trim is priced $1695 more than the Mazda MX-5 GS convertible but offers little of value to justify the price bump. The Lusso trim upgrade includes heated leather seats, automatic temperature control and rain sense wipers for a reasonable price. The Abarth adds four horsepower, a limited slip differential, a unique front fascia design and bright-accent foot pedals at a price that reflects the additional content. Fiat won't lease you a new 124, which may indicate that its predicted resale value cannot support a strong lease residual.  

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted for the Mazda. Fiat 124 not rated but limited sales will likely lead to body and trim parts shortages.  

Specifications


Body Style:  2CV, 2TG

Occupants:  2

Engines:
1.4L-4 T (160-164 HP Fiat), 2L-4 (181 HP Mazda)* 

Transmissions: 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 9.0L/100 km 
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Mazda: Standard forward collision warning, low-speed autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic warning. Fiat: Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings
Additonal airbags: None

Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited (Mazda), 3 years/60,000, 5/100,000 (Fiat)
Current Generation Debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat:  NR

Rear: NR

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Nissan 370Z  


 

What’s new
A 50th anniversary edition of the coupe, commenmorating the release of the Datsun 240Z, is new for 2020.   

Comments
The 370Z is spun off the previous Infiniti G37's FM platform. The 370Z is fast and very agile, but a bit rough-edged and extremely noisy. While visually arresting, with a taut, muscular stance, the 370Z does look a bit brutal. The cabin, with smooth flowing shapes and attractive materials, succeeds where the exterior disappoints. The sole engine on offer is a 3.7L V6 with 332 horsepower (350 horsepower on the Nismo). Power reaches the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission has a feature that blips the throttle on downshifts to better match engine and transmission speeds. The total lack of any kind of active safety equipment is a reflection on the extreme age of the 370Z.

Pricing
At just over $30,000, the base 370Z coupe represents spectacular performance for the money but without an automatic transmission option, its appeal is limited. The Sport trim with manual transmission is slightly too expensive for what it offers. At $2700, the 50th Anniversary edition of the coupe lacks value for the money asked but those keen on marking the anniversary will be happy to pay it. The Nismo is a higher performance, very sporty package that is priced to reflect the value of the Go-Faster equipment. The Sport Touring trim is good value. There is no overlap between the coupe and convertible models but the top convertible is priced at just over $56,000. The 370Z is a reasonable lease value for 2020.  

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Predicted reliability is above average. Rapid tire wear.  

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP*, 2CV
Occupants:  2

Engines:
3.7L-V6 (332 HP, 350 HP Nismo) 

Transmissions: 6M, 7A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.6L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.3L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2009
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: NR

Rear: NR

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ  


What’s new
Toyota 86: The base model is no longer offered with an automatic transmission. A new audio system incorporating the iOS-Android cellphone interface and a Hakone Special Edition named after one of Japan's best driving roads, is new for 2020. Subaru BRZ: the iOS-Android cellphone interface is now standard and a limited production tS trim is new for 2020. 

Performance
The BRZ's rev-happy 2L flat four delivers solid power from idle to the redline, but abrupt throttle response can destabilize the car if the pedal is prodded too heavily when exiting a corner. Using the gears to keep the revs up through curves proves beneficial to stability. The manual transmission has a carefully chosen sextet of gears that are engaged by a short-throw gearchange that requires some care to properly engage the desired gear. Docile clutch. The operation of the optional automatic transmission is faultless and it delivers better fuel economy than the manual. The BRZ shines in terms of suspension composure, agility and stability, especially on sinuous roads. There is virtually no roll, even in brisk cornering, where the limited slip differential helps get power to the road. The downside of the unflappable handling is a punishing ride that copes poorly with scarred road surfaces. The BRZ's steering is precise but lacks any tactile excitement. The dashboard houses three main dials displaying disappointing graphics. Straightforward minor controls. Dour cabin materials combine with a very 1980s aesthetic to make for a dull cabin. Comfortable, grippy front seats and a good driving position due to long seat travel and a telescoping steering wheel. Big doors allow relatively easy access unless parked in tight quarters. The rear seats are virtually impossible to access and are so small as to be unusable. Reasonable trunk space for this type of car.

Comments
The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are powered by a normally-aspirated 2L boxer four producing 205 horsepower (200 with automatic transmission), an astounding figure for an engine of that size. Both direct and port fuel injection are used. Power reaches the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Suspension is via MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the back. The concept for these light, compact coupes is said to go back to the rear-wheel drive Corollas from the mid-80s. Unlike behemoths like the Challenger, Mustang and Camaro, these coupes are truly compact. Styling is hardly arresting, but the cars look taut and sporty on the street. The central core of the cars are shared, with each having unique front fascias and bespoke rear lights.  

Pricing
BRZ: Except for the Sport-tech model, all BRZs feature manual transmission. The Sport-tech model upgrade includes a number of comfort and convenience features in addition to the automatic transmission, and is reasonable value and the only choice if you want a BRZ with automatic. The BRZ Sport-tech RS, equipped with Brembo brakes and Sachs dampers, is reasonable value. The BRZ is a very good lease value for 2020. Toyota 86: The GT trim, though is includes partial leather seating, dual zone air conditioning and Keyless Go, among other things, is overpriced. All BRZ trims include navigation, which is not offered on the 86. The Hakone Edition is an attracive package if you like the look. That said, the BRZ seems to be better value than the 86. The 86 is a very good lease value for 2020. 

Reliability
Not rated due to small sales volume. Most Subarus and Scions have been reliable but Subaru engines have a history of head gasket failure and excessive oil consumption.  

Specifications


Body Style:  2CP
Occupants:  2/2

Engines:
2L-flat 4 (205 HP, 200 HP with automatic)

Transmissions: 6M*, 6A
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  11.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2013
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating: